How can I write an effective introduction outline?

This is the third and final lesson about thesis statement Outlines. To complete this course, read each lesson carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Introduce the five tips for effective thesis statements

– Provide authentic examples to help guide the reader

– Remind the reader to check comprehension online

Lesson 3

Now that we’ve discussed what a thesis statement outline is, why one’s used in introductory paragraphs, and how this writing feature is intended to improve cohesion by connecting the main ideas of the thesis and the body section, this final lesson on outlines provides five tips for writing successful academic roadmaps with confidence. After reading the following advice, consider unlocking and accessing Academic Marker’s beginner-, intermediate-, and advanced-level worksheets on this topic to check your learning and understanding.


1. Clarity

The first piece of advice about writing successful outlines is about maintaining clarity. A poorly edited thesis statement and its outline with potentially incorrect grammar and vocabulary will greatly impact on the transmission of meaning from the writer to the reader, particularly in a second language such as English. Taking a look at our example thesis statement (a) from Lesson 1, we can see that the orange version on the right has a poorly-edited outline that lacks the clarity of meaning:

Outlines 3.1 Thesis Statement A Correct
Outlines 3.2 Thesis Statement A Errors

2. Concision

In addition to being clear in your writing, an academic author should also improve concision by deleting any unnecessary words, phrases or details in their outline. Notice how the writing lacks concision in the orange example (b) below through its inclusion of supporting ideas and unnecessary specifics. A successful outline should only include main ideas, keeping the thesis statement brief and to the point. 

Outlines 3.3 Thesis Statement B Correct
Outlines 3.4 Thesis Statement B Lack of Concision

3. Connection

As was discussed in Lesson 2, a strong outline in a thesis statement is usually one that clearly and concisely connects the essay’s main ideas across the entire paper to improve cohesion. Provided a student takes one main idea from each body paragraph, includes those ideas in their thesis statement roadmap and provides each idea in a symmetrical order to the body, that student should successfully demonstrate the connection and flow of their argumentation.


4. Originality

Our fourth piece of advice is about being original and well-paraphrased in your outline. It’s not enough for a student to have good grammar, vocabulary and structure, but a successful outline must also hook the reader with some interesting main ideas. These main ideas should additionally be expressed in a manner that’s different from how those same ideas are subsequently presented in the body section, to provide dynamic writing. Such paraphrasing is demonstrated in the table below:

Outlines 3.5 Thesis Statement B Main Ideas

5. Specificity

Finally, it’s important to be specific when communicating your main ideas to the reader. While it isn’t good practice to put too much detail into your outline, a good writer should nevertheless make their ideas clear during their thesis statement.

What example outline (a) shows us in the orange box above is that the main ideas of ‘corporations’, ‘energies’ and ‘transportation’, as well as the focus of ‘pollution of an environment’, do not clarify for the reader the controlling variables involved and are therefore seen as lacking specificity. What can also be determined from the above example outline (b) in orange is that the use of referring pronouns such as ‘it’ instead of lexical words such as ‘technology’ and ‘language learning’ also further distort clarity for the reader, with the additional use of the phrase ‘many reasons’ ultimately failing to provide a specific outline of this essay’s key arguments. By trying to avoid pitfalls such as these, any student should be able to help guarantee personal academic success

3 of 3 Lessons Completed


Once you’ve completed all three lessons about outlines, you might also wish to download our beginner, intermediate and advanced worksheets to test your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks.

Our outlines guidance sheet (including all three lessons about this topic) can be accessed here at the click of a button.

Gain unlimited access to our outlines beginner worksheet, with activities and answer keys designed to check a basic understanding of this topic’s lessons.

To check a confident understanding of this topic’s lessons, click on the button below to download our outlines intermediate worksheet with activities and answer keys.

Our outlines advanced worksheet with activities and answer keys has been created to check a sophisticated understanding of this topic’s lessons. 

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